The facet joints connect the bones of the spine and contain nerve roots that pass through these joints from the spinal cord to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body.
These joints also allow the spine to bend and twist. They keep the back from slipping too far forward or twisting without limits. Like the knee joint, they contain cartilage to allow smooth movement where two bones meet. Facet joints are lined with the synovium and have lubricating joint fluid.
When an injury or arthritis causes swelling, patients may experience pain. If the affected joint is in the neck, symptoms may include headache and difficulty moving the head. If the injured facet joint is in the back, patients may experience pain in the lower back, buttocks, or thighs.
Signs of this condition include:
Pain may even force a person to walk hunched over. The specific symptoms of facet syndrome will depend on where the affected joint is located and which nerve roots it affects.
The most common causes of facet syndrome include: